Mikel & Schwarzer performed admirably (©GettyImages)
Mikel & Schwarzer performed admirably (©GettyImages).

Jose Mourinho salutes fringe players

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Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has hailed the performance of his fringe players against Atletico Madrid in last night's UEFA Champions League match.

With Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto'o not making the squad, and Branislav Ivanovic suspended, Mourinho called on the services of John Obi Mikel and Ashley Cole, both of whom have been on the sidelines for much of this season.

A creditable draw however seemed to have been enough for the Portuguese manager, who hailed the efforts put in by his players.

He told the club's website: "Everybody did a great job. A tired David Luiz, after playing in midfield, stepped back and played in central defence for the last 20-25 minutes, which wasn't easy.

"For Ashley to play this type of game after so many games not playing, was amazing. Mikel, Lampard and Torres were immense. Every player gave everything and I'm obviously very pleased."

Mourinho also lost key men, John Terry and Petr Cech to injury, which rules them out of the second leg clash at Stamford Bridge next week. Frank Lampard and Mikel will also miss the second leg due to suspension but Mourinho remains positive that the Blues can still progress.

"This result leaves everything even more related to small details for the second leg. We had problems before the game, during the game and lost four players, two with injuries and two with yellow cards, but we will fight.

"Ivanovic is back, Schwarzer showed we can trust him. People that aren't playing a lot, like Ashley Cole, gave an amazing performance. If we have to play the kids we will. Before, Atletico spoke about the game of their lives, now the game of their lives is at Stamford Bridge," he said.

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